SS17 key trend: Denim in the spotlight

Carolina Herrera SS17Exactly two years ago, the biggest runway story was the fact that the collections we’re awash with denim for SS15. Fast forward 24 months and designers may have calmed down a bit when it comes to high-end denim but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important as a trend fabric.

In fact, it’s so important that Carolina Herrera’s 35th anniversary show today saw her sending out red carpet denim for a show opener that really got social media buzzing.

The dress, an elaborate strapless confection with a hi-lo hem, full skirt and (of course) topstitched seams, was followed by a mini series of denim pieces including a beautiful simple dresses with twisted neckline, a slightly-less-successful denim biker with Vetements-width shoulders and a tie detail top teamed with a brocade evening skirt.

It set the seal on a New York Fashion Week that has so far been very denim friendly. And while gala gowns in denim aren’t likely to be on your local high street rails any time soon, perhaps it is time to revisit the idea of denim as an evening fabric?

Red Valentino, Rebecca Taylor, Rebecca Taylor, Nili Lotan, McQ Alexander McQueen, Frame, Frame SS17

Red Valentino, Rebecca Taylor, Rebecca Taylor, Nili Lotan, McQ Alexander McQueen, Frame, Frame SS17

For most designers though, denim is resolutely informal with the key trend being more about the contrast of light and dark, or dark and darker. Think ombré at Red Valentino, panelling and patching in blue or grey denim with wider, slouchier jeans being the most directional cut. But slimmer denim is still important – especially when it’s cut-off and frilled, flared or frayed at the hem.

And of course, in a season when denim is a star fabric, it’s not only confined to jeans. The denim jacket takes a starring role, looking strong when cut to surprise – Nili Lotan chopped off the collar and waistband while Karen Walker added frills and the new, wider sleeves.

And those frills hint at a more feminine direction of which Carolina Herrera’s red carpet dress was perhaps the most extreme example. More practical is Karen Walker’s frilled mini dress with drop waist that can bridge day and evening with ease. Or try Nili Lotan’s laced neck tunic, Sonia By Sonia Rykiel’s pleated go-anywhere mini skirt or Rebecca Taylor’s pale toned floral print jeans that team beautifully with a frill yoke blouse.

Karen Walker, Karen Walker, Rebecca Taylor, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Karen Walker, Nili Lotan, Nili Lotan SS17

Karen Walker, Karen Walker, Rebecca Taylor, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Karen Walker, Nili Lotan, Nili Lotan SS17

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